This guest post is by Annika Martins of AnnikaMartins.com.
You think you want more traffic, but you don’t.
You want I’m really interested in your stuff traffic that converts into social media sharing, new signups to your list and of course, sales.
But how do you make that happen? How do you ensure that when first-time visitors land on your site, they’re going to take the action you want?
You have to wow them. You have to (very quickly) convince them that you’re the real deal, that you have what they want and need.
Common sense, right?
But most people screw up the execution
In trying to position yourself as the go-to person in whatever you do, are you actually shooting yourself in the foot?
Are you one of the guilty ones who wrote a 1300 word bio telling us your entire employment history and why that makes you the best person to deliver X service or product? Do all of your blog posts reference your client work and how much better you are than your competitors?
Standing on a soap box and bragging about how awesome you are doesn’t impress anyone. In fact, it encourages most people to turn around and run in the opposite direction.
Let someone else be your soap box
When it comes to determining whether you’re legit or not, that first-time visitor couldn’t care less what your opinion of yourself is.
The opinions of your former clients and customers are what they’re really interested in.
They want to hear from someone who worked with you, who has used your products and loved them—and isn’t being paid to say nice things about you. They want to know what problem you help people solve and how you do it. And they want to hear it directly from the person who had the problem.
In short, you need to immediately provide convincing, concise (and honest!) quotes about the quality of your service or product from someone other than you.
The marketing world calls this “social proof.” Most of us refer to these as “testimonials.”
And because ProBlogger has told you before about the importance of including a testimonials page, you might have already created a dedicated page for this very purpose.
And then you filled that testimonials page with glowing quotes from former clients and customers, each neatly formatted into a short paragraph. Maybe you were smart enough to include their picture and URL too. Perfect, right?
The problem with your testimonials page
Creating a centralized storeroom of digital love is a great move. But a stand-alone testimonials page is only one piece of the puzzle. By itself, it is not going to make much of a difference.
The main reason a stand-alone testimonials page isn’t much good is because, aside from the first one or two testimonials on the page (if that), most people won’t read through it.
Get practical about this. Consider your own internet-perusing experience. In the course of a single hour, you probably have dozens of popups, emails, status updates, tweets, phonecalls, text messages, doorbells, maybe a screaming kid or two, and whatever else vying for your attention.
With all those distractions, is it realistic to assume that a first-time visitor is going to sit there and scroll through each and every one of those testimonials? Probably not.
But there’s hope, so don’t give up just yet!
Revitalize your stand-alone testimonials page
Well-written, praise-showering quotes are precisely the sort of content that motivates someone to sign up for your digital course, to join your newsletter list or start following you on Twitter.
With that much power, you can’t let your testimonials die on a page no one ever sees.
In order to make the most of them and therefore convince first-time visitors to stick around, here are five ways you can repurpose those golden testimonials so they actually get seen:
1. Your homepage
Your homepage is like the front window of a store. People drive past, peering in, debating whether they’re going to come inside and mosey around. Isn’t that the perfect place to tell them Fancy Pants Person A thinks you’re awesome?
Carve out a small (but prominent) spot on your homepage sidebar to include one or two of your most impressive testimonials.
Remember though, this is intended to whet their appetite, so edit longer quotes down to a brief sentence or even a phrase that a former client or customer has used to describe you.
To maximize this space even more, you could also install a plugin that scrolls through several short testimonials. That way, instead of reading only one or two quotes, visitors could easily see three or four quotes before clicking over to another page.
2. Twitter Favorites
If you have a strong presence on Twitter and happy customers have sent you tweets raving about your products, those are testimonials that you have to take advantage of also.
By favoriting tweets that wax poetic about how smart and wonderful you are and then installing this Twitter widget, you can add a sidebar widget that will continually refresh itself with your most recent Twitter love.
This is a great way to amplify direct testimonials by demonstrating the scope of your community, your social media savvy, and the passion others have for the service or product you provide.
3. Video testimonials
Take advantage of the fact that millions of people learn best through visual stimulation by creating a short video that highlights your best testimonials.
Ideally, you want to include footage of interviews with former clients so we can see their eyes light up when they talk about how talented you are. But if your clients are camera-shy, even just putting a picture and their quote on the screen with some energetic music can have a huge impact.
You could also splice in brief shots of you talking about why you’re so passionate about what you do.
4. Product and service descriptions
So now that these mini-testimonial snippets have aroused your visitors’ curiosity and they’ve wandered over to your sales page, you think the testimonials can take a break, right?
Oh no. We’re just getting started.
Another great place to feature testimonials is within and alongside the copy that describes your products and services. Testimonials fit in perfectly here because they bring in more social proof that you don’t just write fancy sales copy, but you actually deliver a valuable service or product to real people with real problems.
Building in testimonials here also assures potential customers that you have the experience and expertise they need.
5. Email launch announcements
When you’re writing to your email list to announce a new product or service, remember that some (a lot!) of those people are still not sure whether your products or services are right for them. They’ve joined your list to get to know you better, to get a taste for what you do and see if it they like it.
When promoting something new, incorporate a quote from someone who’s previewed the product, an attendee from last year’s event or one of the beta testers of your digital course.
Building social proof
Don’t underestimate the value of adding new and relevant bits of social proof to everything you launch.
By using these 5 strategies, you will make sure that your glowing customer reviews don’t stay hidden on some random page no one ever reads.
By distributing testimonials throughout your site and promotional materials, new visitors will be much more likely to morph from casual observers to subscribers and buyers.
Do you have any other ideas for ways to revitalize a testimonials page? Please share your ideas in the comments below.
Annika Martins writes about entrepreneurship and not taking ourselves so seriously at http://www.annikamartins.com. She likes jalapenos and counter-intuitive wisdom, like The 10 things no one tells you about being a woman entrepreneur.